While a student at different universities Steve was awarded multiple academic scholarships and was elected to Phi Delta Phi, a national honorary fraternity. His career in space law began while still a scholarship student at Duke Law School in 1962. He was interested in International Law and worked part time at the World Peace Through Law Center, directed by Professor Arthur Larson. Larson introduced him to a visiting scholar at Duke doing research in space law. This scholar, introduced him to Andrew G. Haley of Haley, Bader & Potts, a Washington, DC law firm, where Steve later clerked for three summers, and was subsequently employed as an Associate. Andrew G. Haley was a world-renowned leader in space law publications and policy development.
With a law degree from Duke, in 1963 Steve entered the Institute of Air and Space Law, at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where he studied space law for two years. This post graduate work as a foreign scholar in residence was made possible by a full scholarship from the Canada Council. Steve then returned to Washington, DC, in 1965, and was appointed an Associate in the Haley law firm. In December of that year he was invited to join the newly forming staff of the Communication Satellite Branch, International & Satellite Communications Division of the Federal Communications Commission. In this position, as an attorney/advisor in public utility regulation, he assisted in formulating the initial regulations for authorization of commercial satellite communications in the United States.
In 1967, Steve was invited to take a position as an Expert in Telecommunications Policy in the State Department, where he was engaged increasingly in international conferences. These conferences set up new global communication satellite entities such as the International Telecommunication Satellite Organization (INTELSAT) and the International Maritime Satellite Organization (INMARSAT). He also served on US delegations to meetings at the International Telecommunication Union in Geneva, Switzerland, to help establish global regulations and allocations of radio frequencies for radio uses in outer space.
In 1970, President Nixon decided to establish by Executive Order a national Office of Telecommunications Policy in the White House. Steve was loaned by the State Department to this new office during its formative months, but six months later he was transferred permanently to the White House staff, where he continued to work until 1974, continuing involvement in international telecommunication by satellite and the emerging capabilities of broadcasting satellite technology and its related law and policy. He also continued attending international conferences and meetings.
In 1974, he was invited to accept appointment as the Deputy Director of the Office of International Affairs at NASA Headquarters, which he accepted. Steve then became increasingly involved in United Nations’ meetings of the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, and its Legal and Scientific and Technical Subcommittees. The NASA position also required work in international space cooperation programs, treaty and agreement negotiations, and review and coordination of technology export control licenses for advanced space vehicle technology in launch systems and satellites being sold to customers abroad. Steve served on US delegations helping to draft three of the five major United Nations treaties established to regulate activities in outer space. For his efforts in employee personnel management, NASA awarded him an Equal Employment Opportunity Award and Medal in 1978. He coordinated the NASA role in processing federal technology export cases involving space technology, satellites, launch vehicles, and rocketry.
Steve remained at NASA until the summer of 1978, when he was invited to join the recently formed Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, to assist in setting up study programs in communications, information systems, and space policy studies. He served there as a Program Director until March of 1981, when he left federal service to accept a position in industry. In 1981, he was a co-winner of the National Space Club’s Goddard Memorial Historical Essay Award for a work describing pre-Sputnik development of space law, in a paper later published in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society.
In 1981 Steve joined the Aerojet General Corporation at its Propulsion Facilities in Sacramento CA. He was initially assigned a role as Program Director for logistic and repair services for launch vehicles, but after six months he was assigned as program Director for Small Engine and Specialized Reentry Systems. Following a company reorganization, he was appointed Director of Strategic Planning for the Aerojet Liquid Rocket Company, a post he held from 1982 to 1988. In 1988, while attending the International Astronautical Congress in Bangalore, India, Steve was awarded a Distinguished Service Award by the International Institute of Space Law of the International Astronautical Federation, for outstanding contributions to the development of space law. In 1989, he was reassigned to strategic planning in the Aerojet Solid Rocket Propulsion Co., also in Sacramento, where he worked until 1993.
During his years at Aerojet, the Department of State continued to request his services as a US delegate to international meetings on space law and policy issues at the United Nations and at the International Telecommunication Union. His employer continued his salary pro publico bono during trips of from two to six weeks durations, and the government paid all airfare and per diem expenses. This arrangement continued into the 1990s. In 1990, Steve was invited and permitted to accept a contract from the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) in Geneva, Switzerland. He was employed to lead a study of the international security implications of the expanding civil uses of outer space. A 15 member international expert advisory group was formed to support his work and to review it for accuracy and completeness. This two-year study resulted in a book published as Civil Space Systems: Implications for International Security, in the UNIDIR Series, Dartmouth Publishing, Aldershot, UK, 1994.
During the 1990s Steve was elected to and served two four-year terms as a Director of the International Institute of Space Law in Paris, France. He was subsequently elected an Honorary Director for life. In 2000, he was requested by the President of that Institute to prepare a history of the founding of the Institute. That effort resulted in the book Origins of International Space Law and the International Institute of Space Law of the International Astronautical Federation, Univelt, Inc., San Diego CA, 135 pp. 2002. In 1990 Steve was also elected to life membership in the International Academy of Astronautics, Paris, France.
He continued work at Aerojet in Sacramento CA until he retired in May of 1996. At that time he was involved in an informal partnership of retired and near retirement age Aerojet scientists and engineers. They were developing a means of powering electricity generating plants to enable their operation without pollution. This group decided to incorporate in July 1996, and Clean Energy Systems, Inc. was formed in Sacramento CA to provide a steam generator using modified rocket engine technology to permit generation of power without pollution. See the website at www.cleanenergysystems.com.
Steve was an incorporator and served as a director of this corporation for eight years and served as an officer for 14 years, including 4 years as President. He served as Executive Vice President from 2004 to 2012, on an initially full-time, later part-time basis. He now devotes more time to his studies on the history of aerospace and aerospace law. Steve has collected conference and government documentation on the development of space law for more than 45 years. He is using this unique library as a major reference source as he develops his historical study.
On October 27, 2006, Steve was commissioned by NASA’s History Office to prepare an historical study of The Impact of Spaceflight and Space Exploration on Laws and Governmental Structures of the United States, to be a chronological survey with analysis of the impacts of spaceflight. This study was completed and delivered to NASA on Oct. 31, 2007. The NASA study was revised and updated on April 1, 2008.
In 2009 the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and the International Institute of Space Law (IISL), working cooperatively through their Advisory Committee on the History of Astronautics (ACHA) conducted a study of the roles and influence of the International Geophysical Year (IGY) in the establishment of national space programs and international cooperation in activities involving outer space. Steve served as the study leader of a 15 member international study group, and as principal author of the resulting study published by the IAF in February of 2012. (See Bibliography.)
In 2010 the Board of Directors of the IISL decided to sponsor a book identifying Pioneers of Space Law. Members were solicited to prepare selected chapters for the book and Steve undertook preparation of a chapter addressing the life and works of Andrew G. Haley. See S. Hobe (ed.) Pioneers of Space Law, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Leiden, 2013, 212 pp. at 70-96.
At the end of 2012, Steve ceased serving as an Executive Vice President of Clean Energy Systems, but continued in an advisory role as a part-time employee, a consulting annuitant. During the first quarter of 2013 the editors of the Journal of Space Law decided to dedicate a forthcoming number of the Journal to a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Andrew G. Haley’s book, Space Law and Government, published in 1963. Having spent considerable effort in the preparation of the original manuscript of that book, Steve was invited to submit a written assessment of “Space Law and Government – 50 Years Later.” See vol.39:1 Journal of Space Law, Univ. of Miss., 2013 at 1.